The Thing About Tie-Dye

The office is cold and quiet this morning. The city crawls with shoppers and sleepers and those in a stupor from too much Turkey. And I sit counting down the hours until I can change out of my business casual and get on a plane to go do some exploring. And as I sit, the quiet pierces my ears and reminds me of summer days gone by.

The air smelled like incense.
A mixture of warm spices from the far East—the smell of hippy love
and southern seaside. It was a Florida afternoon
near the ocean, smoky gray air danced its way into the salt and sunshine of
the open sky. The two of them, bare shoulders and hair
un-brushed walked, silently and slightly out of sync,
licking cold coffee and chocolate cones.
Tourists running
from time and papers left
hastily on oak office desks.

The humidity, heavy, hung
The way their drenched Minnie Mouse towels hung over
their chipping, iron clad balcony, dripping sandy salt
water onto cheap vacationers smoking
cigarettes below.

Boardwalk booths lined the cement
sidewalk. Shoppers picking up handmade
turquoise beads and blueberry breads.
A chorus of “oohs” and “ahhs.”

Burly, a man
in a damp, well-worn t-shirt
waved them over. Hair, black, coiled
in ringlets on his chest, holding up
colorful, patterned, cotton
shirts, red and orange and
created by his brown, blistered hands.

“The thing about tie-dye is that you can’t be timid.”

Ice cream dripped
on to the taller one’s thigh, reddened
from her morning sea-side nap. The soles of
the silent travelers walked
on. Sandals hitting pavement and leaving
as quietly and quickly as they had come.

Maybe life is just a little like tie-dye.


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